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new year, new novel

We’re delighted to be starting 2021 by welcoming a new author – our seventh – to the Ignite Books roster. People up and down the country will know Emma Purshouse as an accomplished performance poet, presenter of the episode of Radio 4’s Tongue and Talk which focussed on the dialect poets of the Black Country, and the first ever poet laureate for her beloved city of Wolverhampton. She is now also a published novelist.

Emma’s debut novel Dogged has been years in the making, and well worth the wait. It’s officially available from April 5th, but we’re happy to say it will be on sale exclusively from our online shop from February 1st, and you can pre-order your copy now. Just click here.

We’d also like to draw your attention to an (online) event on February 14th, as part of Wolverhampton Literature Festival. Emma will be in conversation with Steve Pottinger, reading extracts from Dogged, and talking about how the book came to be written. It promises to be a fascinating, funny, and insightful evening, and we recommend booking early to guarantee your place in the audience. Tickets for this event are available here.

festive thanks

From us to each and every one of you. Thanks to everyone who’s supported us by buying one (or more) of our books in this most challenging of years. Thanks to the independent bookshops who continue to do everything they can to share their passion of books with their customers, and keep a unique presence on their local high street. Thanks to initiatives like bookshop.org and hive.co.uk who make it that bit easier for them to survive.

Thanks to everyone who’s played their part in making the difficulties of this year a little less overwhelming. Who’ve looked after neighbours, who’ve been a listening ear, who’ve done what they can to spread good cheer at a time when we need it more than ever. Thank you all. Every last one of you.

We hope you get the chance to put your feet up, spend time with the ones you love, and reflect on the beauty there is in the world. That’s what we’ll be doing for the next few days. We’ll be back in 2021 with our old enthusiasm and some brand new titles. Wishing you all the very best now and in the months to come.

Ignite Books.

hiked

September 2020, and Royal Mail have decided to hike – by a considerable amount – the cost of sending parcels by airmail. They’ve also re-jigged the geography of the world, into the bargain. The USA, which was in World Zone 1, now finds itself in an entirely new category (World Zone 3) which is substantially more expensive than anywhere else.

Whether this is some kind of organisational protest about the antics of the tangerine buffoon who currently scuttles around the White House, we’ve no idea, but it beggars belief that it costs more to send a parcel to the US (dozens of flights daily, just the other side of the Atlantic) than, say, some remote village at the southernmost tip of Chile, or a far-flung island of Indonesia.

Our standard international postage outside Europe has always been surface mail, which takes at least seven weeks to crawl across the globe. Folk who bought our books in the US used to be able to add £3.00 for airmail delivery. Sadly, we can no longer do this. The good news is that digital editions of all our books are available, and while they don’t – in our opinion – have the same quality as a physical book, that may well be the only affordable option from now on. We can only apologise, but it’s out of our hands.

P.S. All existing orders will be honoured at the paid-for rate. Of course.

silver lining

It seems that one thing that’s happened through lockdown – at least as far as Ignite Books is concerned – is that people have been buying more e-books than they were previously. We’ve certainly seen a notable spike in sales. And that’s been a very welcome surprise, and a real boost to morale, in the midst of such a difficult time.

But should we have been so surprised by this? After all, the UK government recently removed the VAT on digital books, making them even better value than they were previously. If you’re in isolation, you can download an e-book without a delivery man coming to your front door, and the subsequent need to quarantine your new purchase. And in an uncertain economic climate, where charity shops (the mecca for thrifty book buyers) are shut, digital downloads are a cheaper option than brand new books.

Whatever the reason, we’re very happy to see our authors’ work ending up on so many computers, tablets, and e-readers. Thanks to everyone who’s bought a copy. We’re sure you’re going to enjoy them! And for those of you who’d like to know more about our digital publications, they’re all listed here.

It goes without saying that we remain immensely proud of the paperback editions of all our books, which are things of beauty. We’re also looking forward to the day when Tezz Roberts, Ian Elmslie, and Steve Pottinger can once more do the live events – readings, talks, and gigs – they had planned before Covid-19 changed everything. Until then, stay safe, look after each other, and happy reading.

digital books

You may be aware that the UK government has now removed the VAT levy from e-books. This welcome (some might say, overdue) move means that buying a digital copy of any Ignite publication is now better value than ever. With many of us having more time on our hands, and access to high street bookshops still little more than a hope for the future, digital books are coming into their own. So here’s a reminder of our digital publications… (note: for each of them, we’ve shared the UK kindle store details. Titles should be available on multiple platforms for both kindle and non-kindle readers, just so you know.)

First up, it’s ‘The Curious Mystery…’ by Joolz Denby. The first book we ever published, this delightful novella looks at what happens to gods and goddesses when people stop believing in them. Could they end up living in a northern town just a little bit like Bradford? You know, they just might…

We have two more digital titles from Joolz. Her novel ‘Wild Thing’ is a powerful, haunting read which deserved to get a lot more recognition than it did. The physical edition of this book sold out some time ago, and it’s now only available digitally. Thoroughly and wholeheartedly recommended. And the third of Joolz’ books available from us as a digital imprint is Billie Morgan, deservedly shortlisted for the (then) Orange Prize for Literature in 2005.

We’re incredibly proud of City Baby. This is our best-selling book in every format – the physical book is now in its fifth print run. GBH bass player Ross Lomas tells his story of thirty odd (very odd) years as a touring musician. It’s the tale of how punk rock, and love, saved his life. Whether you love punk rock or wouldn’t know GBH from the Bee Gees, we guarantee you’ll enjoy this book.

Next, it’s a romp of a tale from Carl Stanley. Kiss & Make Up tells the story of a night-clubbing, drug-fuelled schoolboy who becomes make-up artist to the stars. Finally sober after years of seeking oblivion through excess, he meets up with his mother again. After all the fights and arguments, will they kiss and make up? This book was longlisted for the Polari Prize in the year it was published.

Also longlisted for the Polari Prize when we brought it out, A Marvellous Party is a wonderfully candid and engaging account of Ian Elmslie’s journey from family home to the heart of the gay cabaret scene. A beautifully crafted paean to tolerance and acceptance, with some banging showtunes and celebrity appearances on the way. Highly recommended.

Last but not least, our final digital publication is But after the gig… Tezz Roberts is a founder member of Discharge and a punk rock legend. If there’s an edge he’s sailed close to it, leapt over it, come back, and done it again. And again. And again. An incredible read which will have you laughing and wincing by turns.

There you go. We’re proud of each and every one of these books. Any or every one of them will do what a good book should do, and allow you to lose yourself within them. Whatever your choice of e-reader, you should give these titles a go. Happy reading!

out in the world

May 1st. And today our latest publication – the sixth book of poems by performance poet Steve Pottinger – is officially out in the world. Yes, we’ve had copies with us since early March, but this was always the date from which you could walk into a bookshop and order it. Not that you can walk into a bookshop right now, of course.

These are uncertain times for all of us. In relation to our plans for this book, the launch we had scheduled in Wolverhampton in late March had to be cancelled (and hasn’t yet been re-scheduled) and the series of gigs we’d set up to promote it have all gone the same way. Given everything else that’s going on in the world, we know full well that this is incredibly small beer, and like everyone else we’re waiting to see if and how and when life may return to something we recognise as ‘normal’.

For now, here’s a wonderful review of the book by Neil Leadbeater on poetry website Write Out Loud. We’d like to think it’ll help convince you to splash out on a copy of Steve’s book to brighten up life under lockdown. You can, of course, buy ‘thirty-one small acts…’ here.

And for those of you short of spare cash, or who aren’t quite sure a book of poems is for you… here’s the poem ‘enough’ which features in ‘thirty-one small acts…’ We hope you enjoy it.

worth a read…

We don’t usually write blogs about newspaper articles, but…. yesterday, Dave Simpson, music editor of The Guardian, posted a truly wonderful piece about the impact of Clay Records on the second wave of UK punk. Those of you who know of Clay already will be aware it was the brainchild of Mike Stone, and was based in an independent record shop in Stoke-on-Trent. You’ll also know that legendary UK punk bands GBH and Discharge were two of Clay’s very successful signings.

The article is a joy to read. Our only disappointment is that it didn’t mention either City Baby or But after the gig… our two best-selling autobiographies of Ross Lomas and Tezz Roberts, respectively. But that’s being really picky. The article, as we say, is a joy. And if you haven’t read it already (or you’d like to read it again) you’ll find it here. Fill yer boots!

Stay safe. And please, share this article with your friends.

a time of change

Life has changed since we last sat down to write a blog. Then, the biggest problem in the Ignite world was that our latest publication – the new book of poems by Steve Pottinger – had arrived a day later than we’d hoped and hadn’t been available for his gigs in London and Brighton.

It’s hard to believe that was three short weeks ago. Since then we’ve seen panic buying, lockdown, and increasing pressures on our health service. Our heartfelt thanks to all the NHS staff who are working so hard in such difficult circumstances. The nationwide applause last Thursday was well-deserved, as is the PPE they’ve been waiting for, a pay rise, and more. But you know that already.

These aren’t easy times for any of us. For now, we’re still here selling books, and we very much hope to be here when things return to normal, whenever that may be. If you decide that losing yourself in our books will be the perfect way to get through your lockdown, you can order through our online shop as always, and we’ll post them out as soon as we can. But we do understand that other things may be more or a priority right now.

Look out for each other, help each other where you can, and stay safe. Our very best wishes to you all.

thirty-one small acts…

OK, so things didn’t quite go to plan, in that the new book of poems by Steve Pottinger arrived on Tuesday morning last week rather than Monday, which meant he didn’t have copies with him for his Brighton and London gigs. But the book is here now, and looking glorious.

It’s up on our shop page already, of course, and we’re off down the Post Office tomorrow morning to send out the first batch of orders. (Our thanks to all the folk who got in there early!) We’ll be setting up a book launch – maybe two or three – in advance of the official publication date of May 1st, so keep your eyes peeled for them.

In the meantime, you can be the envy of all your friends* by getting your copy here. Trust us, it’s worth it.

*especially the ones who like poetry

a bit like buses…

… in that you wait ages for some kind of news from us, and there seems to be nothing but tumbleweed. Then, out of nowhere, there’s stuff coming at you from all angles. Last week, the news that we’re putting out a new volume of poems by Steve Pottinger; today, we’re very happy to announce that A Marvellous Party is going to the printers once more.

This book by Ian Elmslie leapt out as a great story when he first sent us the manuscript, and it’s been heartening to see our faith in his work backed up by the response of so many readers to A Marvellous Party. Ian is currently touring a show based round the book – he’s in Canterbury in the next day or so – and we recommend you catch it if you get the chance.

Oh, and get yourself a copy of the book, if you haven’t already. You won’t regret it.